Thursday, April 29, 2010

Home Owner Woes

I wrote this a little while ago after a particularly stressful weekend, but I forgot to post it.  I still really want your feedback so, better late than never...

At the risk of sounding like a brat, I want to be honest for a minute... I am down-right OVER being a homeowner.  OVER IT.  I may have mentioned this before.

Jeff and I bought our house two years ago next month.  It was EXACTLY what we were looking for --- Built in 1923, it had the "charm" I insisted on, but the contractor/designer couple that lived there before us had done just enough renovations to make it modernized, comfortable, and relatively low maintenance.  It had a lovely front porch where I could put my (much-coveted) porch swing, and a deck for Jeff's grill, tiki-torches, and lots of summer cookouts.

Other things on our list:
Large open area for entertaining. - Check!
Room for a family (one-day) - Check!
Fenced in backyard for our "newest addition" - Check!
Parking for large parties etc... (At the church behind our house... uh, is that bad?) - Check!
And, a really cute neighborhood in walking distance to restaurants/theater/etc.  - Check!


It, truly, was a dream come true.
Photo & Design by Howard Chen

Now, two years later, it still has all those things.  And, I truly enjoy decorating it (Thank you Mom for all the wonderful hand-me-downs), and hosting parties/bible studies/ etc.  BUT... We've also gotten quite a few "bonuses" if you will.
  • CONSTANT yard work.  (We have thoroughly killed, not one, but TWO full yards of grass since moving in.  And, that "dream" deck is COVERED in pollen, leaves, or acorns approximately 94% of the time... Plus, let's be honest, Addy really prefers the air conditioner to the heat of the outdoors.)
  • UN-ENDING house work. (Have you ever tried to keep old, WHITE, kitchen cabinets clean? IMPOSSIBLE. How about keeping dust-bunnies and blonde dog hair off of DARK hard-wood floors?)
  • CLUTTER.  (Seriously, this is my worst nightmare.  I remember worrying that we would "never" have enough stuff to fill this house.  Ahhh, my ignorance! It is amazing how much STUFF we've accumulated in two years.)
  • Edited to Add: And as of yesterday, a BROKEN HOT WATER HEATER.  I have driven to my sister's house to shower the past two mornings because Jeff and I could just NOT accept this sad fate for our gas tank.
I know I sound like a complete spoiled brat...  But, the truth is, Jeff and I maybe just aren't meant to be homeowners.  (I promise you, I would have NEVER guessed this about myself in a million years.)  We like the outdoors - a lot - but between allergies and busyness, we prefer the hiking, picnicking, sunbathing variety over mowing, raking, and planting.  And, I am too much of a perfectionist to handle a WHOLE house, much less an old one. That's just the truth.  I notice everything - every little scratch, drip, etc - and it makes me CRAZY.  Also, I - of course - can't wait to start a family - but, I worry that in a big house I might spend all my time cleaning and not enough time just being a mom...

Please hear this: I feel INCREDIBLY blessed by what we have been given... Honestly, all these thoughts ARE weird for me because I always saw myself living a life just like this, and I still love entertaining, decorating, and even organizing... I am just trying to figure out if this is really what God has for us, if we just kind-of "forced" it because it's the norm.

Recently, when I am at home I feel anxious instead of comfortable and relaxed.  A house just isn't worth that... Even if it is what I always "dreamed of." Maybe that's what growing up is all about... Realizing that sometimes your dreams aren't really what's best for your reality... 

Right now, I'm dreaming of something like this...

(Yes, they have places like these even in my little city.)

What do you think?  Have any of you experienced moving FROM a house TO an apartment or loft?  Am I crazy?  I'd love some input!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pregnancy Etiquette

This photo is from my friend Lindsey's blog.  She's pregnant, and adorable, and I'm sure she won't mind me stealing this without her permission. :)

Yesterday, I went to the "girl doctor."  No, I'm not pregnant.  Yes, I think having to say "girl doctor" means you are too immature to have a baby....  That's all besides the point.

The place was like a pregnancy zoo.  You know that scene at the beginning of  Baby Mama (a beautiful work of modern theatrical genius) where Tina Fey keeps seeing little babies staring at her and making googley eyes EVERYWHERE she looks? That was me yesterday, except with pregnant bellies too... I tried to focus on less pleasant parts of pregnancy like nausea and excessive weight gain - but I mostly was just jealous...

In my effort to distract myself during the forty-five blasted minutes in the waiting room, I started thinking about the topic of PREGNANCY ETIQUETTE, specifically with regards to Facebook and other social networks like Twitter and blogs.  Ladies, I think this is a conversation we NEED to have, and I'm  not afraid to start it...

Disclaimer: I mean for this to be about 25% serious/thought-provoking and 75% funny.  Truly, I mean absolutely NO disrespect or insensitivity AT ALL.  I've never been pregnant, so I know absolutely nothing about what it is really like; and - let the record show - I will probably do ALL of these things when my day comes.  This is all in good fun - ok?

Ok, so here goes...

Let's start with this: I LOVE a good pregnancy pic. If you are pregnant and you have an updated FB page or blog, you can pretty much rest assured that I am busy stalking following everything you post.  I do think pregnancy is beautiful and fascinating.  BUT... Sometimes, I am a little caught off guard when I see a picture of you NAKED (you know the ones) for all the world to see.  News flash: Under any other circumstance, this would be considered X-Rated. If you wouldn't pose naked before you were pregnant - i.e. before you gained thirty pounds and a lot of stretch marks - why would you now?  (Maybe that's just it... my stomach already doesn't look so hot, and my mom gained 80 pounds when she was pregnant with me - I'm cursed... and envious.) Absolutely take the pictures, but maybe you could put them in a sweet little (private) scrapbook. :)

While we're on this subject, let's talk about ultrasound photos.  I, personally, don't mind them.  But, I have a girlfriend who HATES when people make them their profile-pictures on Facebook.  She says they are personal and Facebook readers should get to choose whether or not they look at them, instead of just scrolling down their list of friends and finding the inside of your uterus in place of a head-shot.  Any thoughts on this?!?  Just curious...

Finally, can I just express my extreme sadness over the current trends in pregnancy?  Back when my mom was pregnant with me, pregnant women were expected - maybe even encouraged - to eat TONS of unhealthy food, gain TONS of weight, and chug around in moo-moos and trashbags for (at least) six months.  (My mom tells stories of literally eating WHOLE boxes of donuts out of the grocery cart while she shopped, hence the aforementioned 80 pound weight gain!)  Anyways, today, it appears that EVERY pregnant woman must be incredibly gorgeous, thinner than ever, and able to run a marathon, wear a bikini, etc. etc. etc.  WHAT have we done?!?!  It's not that I don't enjoy the pictures of you in your adorable pregnancyness --- but really, the bar has been set far too high.  I will have to go into hiding when I am pregnant.  Every once in a while, could you just post a picture of you with a bad hairday, no makeup, and too-tight jeans unbuttoned at the top.  Or maybe one where you just finished throwing up? Let's just be real about this ok?  And, if you are one of those BLESSED individuals who really does always look ah-mazing, maybe you could put those pictures in your private scrapbook too.  It would REALLY help some of my insecurities.  I'mjustsaying. :)
I mean, really? (Photo Credit)

Now, I'm not ignorant... You ARE carrying a human being in your body for nine months.  You DO deserve some rights.  And, I know "we" (non-pregnant gals) say and do a lot of stupid/annoying things.  For example, I've heard that people HATE to have their stomach's touched by strangers  (Another thing that would NEVER be ok if you weren't pregnant - I mean, imagine that please!); and, I know you shouldn't say things like "Oh my gosh, you are HUGE," or "I can't believe you still have another two months to go.  You look like you are going to pop."  But, what am I missing?  Preggos, speak up!  This isn't a one sided conversation.  What do "we" do that really makes you tick (hormones or not)?

Let's get this convo started...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Family Meeting

First of all, I'm sorry I've been a little MIA from the blog world for the last couple of days.  Trust me, you know I'm REALLY busy when I don't make time to blog! :)  In response to the one "email of concern," I'm feeling fine - haha - but, as usual, I've bitten off a little more than I can chew in my "real life" right now, and several other projects seem to be taking up A LOT of my "free" time.  In the next three weeks, I am organizing a church renovation/move, our high school's prom, and a bachelorette party in Northern Virginia.  (I just realized what a funny combination of projects that is!)  Anyways, I'm not complaining... it's all fun stuff and, at least I'll have EXCELLENT blog material in the coming weeks!!!

..........................................................

Speaking of fun stuff, last night my dad called a "Family Meeting."  Just in case you think that's normal, let me clarify: I am twenty-six and have been married for almost three years, I talk to my parents and sister every day, and I don't remember EVER having a family meeting before in my life.  Call me crazy, but this seems to be a funny time to start instituting this kind-of tradition. 

Anyway, the topic of the meeting was our upcoming trip to Nashville this weekend to see Jimmy Buffett and visit good family friends -- Yes, extremely important.  I guess, if you think about it, all five of us in a mini-van for seven hours IS a cause for some pre-mature planning.  My dad, I kid you not, came with a TYPED AGENDA for each of us.  And, not to be outplayed, I prepared "Behavior Contracts" for everyone to sign at the conclusion of the meeting.  Jeff even notorized them!  Hilarious. Like father like daughter.

Photographic Evidence

Just to give you a preview of this road trip, items on the contract included:

"Traveler hereby agrees to get ample sleep on the eve of the trip and take any and all precautions to ensure the VERY best mood possible on the day of travel."
and
"Traveler will be polite and friendly at all times during travel, especially with regards to: seating arrangements, music selections, bathroom breaks, conversation topics, and driving."

Kathryn begrudgingly signed, but hers was accompanied by a little note that read:

"Please recognize that this contract is asking me to completely 100% totally CHANGE MY PERSONALITY.  I will do my best."

I think that pretty much sums up what we are dealing with here...   Prayers are encouraged!

................................................................................

P.S. Bachelor of the Week will be back next Monday!! Don't fret, there are plenty of single hunks to go around! ;)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Typical Saturday... And a WINNER

You know you are getting old when you look forward to Saturdays so that you can sleep until 8 o'clock, drink coffee at leisure, and catch up on house/yard work...

Ok, well, maybe we don't really look forward to the yard and housework, but it has become a necessary part of our routine over the last few years. Sometimes it honestly feels like we LIVE just for the few hours on Saturday evening and Sunday morning when the house is sparkly clean, the grass is freshly cut, and the pollen is blown off the front porch. (A little sad, huh?!?)

Anyway, today was no exception. I started off the morning by working on a Habitat for Humanity house with the Junior League. When I got there, they asked me what my "skills" were. Uhhh... interior design? I picked up trash in the yard and painted trim for three hours.

Luckily, when I got home, I found Jeff hard at work in the yard. He had even come up with the GENIUS idea of hiring our next door neighbor kids to "help."

(Haha, this picture cracks me up!! I promise Jeff did more than just "supervise.")

He paid them in popsicles.

I wonder if they would be interested in vaccuuming and laundry too?

............................................................................................................
And, I almost forgot to announce the winner of my CSN Stores Giveaway:

MELICITY is the proud new owner of these ADORABLE bird placemats!
(E-mail me girl, I don't have a way to get in touch with you!)

Congratulations!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Boy Meets Girl

Kelly's Korner: How I Met My Husband


Ours is a typical love story... It started in ninth grade (1999)...

Boy meets girl. Girl falls for boy. Boy breaks up with girl via instant messenger because he "wants to be single for the summer." Girl obsessses over boy for next three years. Girl asks boy to MANY high school dances. Boy always says no.

Fast forward... senior year (2002)...

Boy (finally) agrees to date girl (again). Girl was right all along. Girl steals boy's heart and takes it five hours away to college in South Carolina. Boy becomes very familiar with the highway... And, falls in love with girl.

June 2007...

Boy and girl say "I do" and live happily ever after...

What? Not so typical?

Haha. Jeff and I have been together for almost ten years now, and I've known him since I was fourteen. He is my best friend and PERFECT match; but, neither of us EVER would have guessed that when we were going to high school dances and football games. (Honestly, I'm pretty positive most of our friends and family members wouldn't have either.) Thankfully, ours is a story of 2nd chances... Of God's grace protecting and preparing us for each other all along. (Read more here.)

And now, in much more beautiful words than I could ever come up with, here is the video from our Rehearsal Dinner set to Bebo Norman's song "A Page is Turned". I admit this is a little corny, but the words are so special to me because they really tell "our story" so well -- even down to the part about him proposing high upon a mountain (Deer Valley, Utah). The video is about five minutes long, so turn up the volume and enjoy!

video


Obviously, a lot of things have changed since we first met --- like, for example, Jeff had A LOT more hair and I would NEVER post a picture of me in a bathing suit for all to see --- but, he still makes me the happiest girl EVER! We are truly blessed.

We are THOSE people....

You know the ones...
Their kids scream on airplanes, throw temper-tantrums and knock things off the shelves in grocery stores, throw food and weave under tables at restaurants; and, all the while, the oblivious parents calmly smile upon their "adorable" offspring and deceitfully believe that the entire world around them MUST find their children just as "cute" and "hilarious" as they do. (Photo credit.)
We are THOSE people, and...
We don't even have kids!

Jeff and are THOSE people with... OUR DOG!

Last night, the 20 & 30 somethings from our church had a fellowship night at a local park.  About twenty-five of us gathered for a friendly game of ultimate frisbee, followed by worship and prayer.  It was the perfect night...  And, being the obsessed parent that I am, I couldn't imagine leaving our Addy out of such an ideal outdoor experience.

So, off we went... dog in tow.

Things started off well, Addy chased her tennis ball and obediently "stayed" when we commanded her.  In my heart, I was (seriously) feeling quite prideful about her excellent behavior and judging MANY of the other dogs in the area. 

THEN, I turned my back and left "dad" in charge.  After all, she was being so good...

And, the next thing I know she is LITERALLY in the MIDDLE of a nearby softball game.  As in, darting to and from bases, licking the batter, resting at home-plate.  The whole game came to a hault as the players and coaches searched for the "irresponsible" dog-parents. 

I, mortified, did the run-of-shame to retrieve her, apologized profusely, and drug her back to our space by her collar.  (Jeff, meanwhile, literally did not care what was happening at all - he was too entrenched in his frisbee game).

Later, I reflected: Addy IS adorable and VERY friendly (what parent doesn't want those two qualities in their kids), but these strangers seemed MUCH LESS impressed and amused by her than me.  In fact, sometimes (like when we are trying to have a serious bible study or discussion at our house OR when guests are eating), even our friends don't seem to be quite as humored by her behavior...

And, I got it.

We are THOSE people.  With a DOG.

This photo is from another "park incident" where I actually had to dress Addy in a t-shirt to prevent her from destroying the car with her muddiness. She, obviously, rules our world.

Oh, we have a long road ahead of us....


Don't forget, today is the last day to enter the LoveBirds and Linens Giveaway from CSN Stores.  Don't miss out!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April Showers Bring May Flowers

I've been saving this one for "a rainy day." Literally.
Check out the latest trends in umbrella couture courtesy of my girl friend Megan...





See, there is a bright side to a rainy day!!! I mean, they've really thought of everything... See more here.

P.S. Don't forget to enter my LoveBirds and Linens giveaway right here.  There are only two more days to enter and, so far, the odds are good! :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bachelor of the Week 2

Well, ladies, your response last week was positive (although I'm pretty sure "Joe Doe" is still on the market). So, it's time for another...

Please meet... Bachelor #2:
"Uncle Brett"

Tired of playing the dating game?  Ready for someone you can really be yourself around, and who will take your relationship seriously?  This sun-tanned stud might just be your DREAM-COME-TRUE! 

A 26 year-old Roanoke native, "Uncle Brett" is a true family guy with a charismatic personality, and a heart for all things preppy (including girls). Already worn out by the crass "business world," by day he is a children's soccer & swim coach and country-club pool manager, and by night he is studying to be a teacher. In his free time, He puts the MAN in manny as the designated "Uncle" for half of town... Kids LOVE him and (guaranteed) he'll charm his way right to your mom's heart too!!

A former WVU Mountaineer athlete, "Uncle Brett" loves a good run and a good party.  A closet R&B love-song addict, he's learned most of his "skills" from Boyz II Men.  And, he's not ashamed to admit his passion for fashion, or his unique hobby -- grocery shopping late at night when its quiet and spending forever looking for as many deals and manager specials as possible.  While he certainly has a wild side, he'd much rather spend a low key night with someone special than a night on the town...

Ladies, this guy KNOWS what he wants and he is anxious to find her!  He's looking for a natural beauty who enjoys a similar lifestyle.  "I want a girl who is strong enough to be independent when alone, but when I'm around I want her to lean on me for strength and support; must love the Lord and be a Christian, preferably no tattoos (if so, small and not in a very revealing place), great sense of humor, easy going, [and]must love/want CHILDREN." 

Sound like the guy for you?  Don't let this one get away!!!  Comment or e-mail me for his contact info!  (Long distance is NOT a problem!)

*If you know another Mr. Perfect who you think would like to be featured as a Bachelor of the Week, simply email his photo (formal poses preferred, but not required) and a short biography to e@emyselfandi.com. I'd LOVE to feature him!

And, on an unrelated note, don't forget to enter my LoveBirds and Linens giveaway from CSN Stores here

Sunday, April 18, 2010

LoveBirds and Linens GIVE-AWAY!

Have you heard of CSN Stores?!  They seem to be pretty popular in the blog world; but, I admit, I hadn't checked them out before recently.  I'm telling you... this place has IT ALL -- lighting, decorating accessories, furniture, etc. etc.  And, their prices are excellent!!!! Today, I especially love them because they are hosting A GIVEAWAY with a little something special JUST FOR YOU! :)

I am SO excited about what I've chosen!

First, a little background... Remember my LoveBirds and Linens shower?  Well, one thing I didn't share are these awesome invitations...
Aren't they the greatest???

Naturally, since there is only so much you can do with an invitation, I went on the search for other cute items with a similar look.  AND, lucky for you, I found THESE adorable DwellStudio (the same company who designed the invitations) linen/cotton placemats that fit the theme PERFECTLY.

Ahhh, don't you just LOVE them? They make me want to have a luncheon RIGHT NOW!

And, even better, CSN stores* is giving away a set-of four to one lucky reader!

To make them yours, all you have to do is any, or all, of the following:
  1. Leave a comment telling me the BEST wedding gift you have ever given OR received
  2. Become a follower of my blog (or just say so, if you already are)
  3. Write about this give-away on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter & link back to me
That's right, you have THREE CHANCES TO WIN! Just make sure you tell me which ones you did in your comment!
  • This give-away will be open until THURSDAY 4/22 at 11:59PM to all US and Canada residents.
 Don't miss out!
*CSN stores is this incredible shopping phenomenon where you can (literally) find ALL things wonderful at even-more-wonderful prices!  Go check it out!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

LoveBirds and Linens

Today, my wonderful mother and mother-in-law threw an absolutely BEAUTIFUL wedding shower for my best friend (who also happens to be Jeff's first cousin -- purely coincidental although he likes to think he played a role in our friendship) Amanda.  The theme was LoveBirds and Linens, and everything about it was SO cute!!


They thought of EVERYTHING to go with their cute theme..



"Love Bird" tea towels from Anthropologie.

The groom even showed up unexpectedly with flowers!  (MAJOR brownie points!)

... Isn't she going to be a stunning bride?

 Ok... next up: I'm planning the Bachelorette Party for next month! This is a tough act to follow. Any ideas!?!

Like this idea? Come back tomorrow for a LoveBirds and Linens themed GIVE-AWAY from CSN Stores. I can't wait... You are going to LOVE it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Three Years

I'm remembering Virginia Tech today... Jeff's alma mater and the school "in my backyard."  I can't believe it has been three years since that terrible day.  Today, though, it is so encouraging to see all the students and teachers at my school wearing their maroon and orange. We have not forgotten! Thank you VT for being a picture of perserverance and love for our entire community! :)


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stuff Teachers Like

Kelly's Korner's Show Us Your Life topic this week is Ideas for Teacher Gifts.  And, as a teacher, I consider it my CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY to contribute...

So, in the style of Christian Lander and Jonathan Acuff, I bring you...

Stuff Teachers' Like
#1. Embroidered and emblazened sweaters and vest for EVERY occassion

#2. Apples (Especially the "this has been in the bottom of my bookbag for six days" variety)

#3. Smiley Face Stickers

#4. Motivational Posters
#5. Red Pens

#6. Rubber stamps with super corny slogans
#7. Rolling crates/suitcases/etc.

#8. Denim Jumpers
#9. "#1 Teacher" Goodies
#10. Cut-out letters and ANYTHING bulletin board worthy

Teachers, what did I forget??

Clarification: The above items are STEREOTYPES and actually NOT desirable for most modern-day teachers.  (Except for maybe #1, I always a feel a little "under dressed" around the holidays.)

If you really want to know...
  1. I get super giddy about gift-certificates (Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, etc.)
  2. I desperately could use things for my classroom --- mechanical pencils, colored paper, cute post-its, etc.  (My husband swears we don't "break even" on my expenses until about May.)
  3. Plants and flowers are WONDERFUL
  4. And, honestly, the best gift you could give me would be a simple THANK YOU - in email or letter form.  We really get a lot of negatives and very few positives from parents. 

Finally, a friendly reminder... Don't forget the high school teachers!  We love your kids too! :)

*Be sure to read my post on Stuff Christians Like, if you missed it yesterday.  SUCH a funny - and too true - blog! :)


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